Recycled materials make colorful lanterns

STO. TOMAS’ PASKO SA BASURA

STO. TOMAS-—This quiet drug-free town in Pangasinan, now aims to be garbage-free as well starting this season.

The townsfolk have since seen the benefits and gains through its more colorful Pasko sa Basura project that it relaunched this month.

The proof is in the 16 creative and artfully lit designs of giant lanterns from recycled materials and cornhusks that adorn the frontage of their imposing municipal hall.

Ten barangays and six schools were challenged by their local government to create lanterns using recycled items and cornhusks (representing their One Town One Product).

This smallest town already landed a Guinness world record for the longest grill of corn Feb. 11, 2008.

Mayor Timoteo Villar III said the idea for the lantern making from trash was borne out of their Trash Savers Volunteers (TSV) program launched two years ago, an advocacy among students and residents in support of the Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000 and their Municipal Ordinance No. 02-2004 on waste segregation.

Corresponding incentives, either cash or in kind like school supplies, are given to students based on points earned for the volume of trash turned over as reflected in their individual passbooks issued them by the municipal government.

TSV, the mayor said, aims to educate students on waste segregation, to make them realize the importance of 5Rs (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Restore and Replenish) and to inculcate the importance of environmental concerns as well as the value of savings.

After its initial launch last year for lantern making using materials collected in their TSV, the project was made again this Christmas for the Pasko sa Basura, with dancing Christmas lights adding glitter and glow to the 10 feet tall and in diameter lanterns.

The lanterns will be on display until January 6 but the winning designs will be announced on Dec. 22.

Former Mayor Vivien Villar led officials in the ceremonial lighting of the lanterns last Monday.

Liga ng mga Barangay municipal president Lito Aquino said residents of his barangay took two weeks to 10,000 pieces of disposable plastic spoons from a popular food chain in nearby town, empty mineral bottles and crushed eggshells for their barangay’s lantern entry. (Tita Roces)

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